OBA leader hits out after Throne Speech axed

  • Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier approaches the Cabinet Building for the 2018 Convening of the Legislature (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier approaches the Cabinet Building for the 2018 Convening of the Legislature (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Opposition leader claimed last night it was “extremely concerning” that the Government appeared too broke to host a Throne Speech event.

Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, was speaking after Jamahl Simmons, the Minister without Portfolio, said the Progressive Labour Party administration had decided to save “the over $10,000 spent on the pomp and ceremony while continuing to sit in the legislature and deliver for the people of Bermuda” rather than have the traditional Throne Speech delivered by John Rankin, the Governor.

Mr Simmons said that David Burt, the Premier and PLP leader, would outline proposed legislation for the year at the opening night of the party’s delegates’ conference on Monday and the public was invited to attend.

But Mr Cannonier said yesterday: “I find it extremely concerning that, in October, Government already appears to be that broke.

“That is something the public should be very worried about indeed.

“Why can’t it afford $10,000? Is because of the $1.2 million given to former premier Ewart Brown?

“Is it due to the $300,000 extra in ministerial payroll — which is benefiting the same minister who tries to persuade us that cancelling the speech is saving money?”

He added: “It is just a weak excuse — and we can all see through that.”

The Royal Gazette reported last November that a Cabinet reshuffle increased the ministerial salary bill by $221,851, to $1,338,964.

Mr Burt announced on Tuesday that Parliament will continue to meet every other week until mid-December without the traditional Convening of the Legislature.

The move meant that the usual ceremony on the Cabinet Office lawn, when the Speech from the Throne is delivered, will not be held.

Mr Cannonier said: “The OBA is not concerned with pomp and ceremony, if the cost is the reason then let’s get rid of the pomp.

“As far as we are concerned the Premier could address the House and read it himself.

“As I have stated, a good leader lays out their plans clearly and communicates them effectively with all stakeholders — not just the party faithful.”

He added: “The Throne Speech also shows the Government is being transparent and is prepared to accept scrutiny.

“At a time when Bermudians are struggling to pay bills, they need a vision and a leader to deliver that vision. The Premier has let down his people.”

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Published Oct 26, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 26, 2019 at 7:59 am)

OBA leader hits out after Throne Speech axed

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